01 March 2010

Essex at the Book Festival

Colchester Campus

The University of Essex will once again be contributing to the Essex Book Festival with more events than ever before.

Activities start on 9 March with the Annual Burrows Lecture. Matthew Poole, of the University’s Department of Art History and Theory, will be speaking on ‘From chavs to contemporary art: anti-institutionalism and iconoclasm in Essex.’

Matthew explained: ‘Essex has a long and proud tradition of rebellion: from the revolt in 60AD against the Roman forces of Camulodunum by the Iceni Queen Boudica, to the dissolution of the monasteries and break from the Vatican of the Catholic Church in England in the 16th Century led by the 1st Earl of Essex, Thomas Cromwell, and Ipswich’s Cardinal Thomas Wolsey.

‘Today this tradition is continued perhaps by the popular culture of ‘chavs’; often associated with working-class youth in Essex, the ‘Essex-girl’, and the ‘white-van-man’. However, these figures are often dubbed as anti-social, aggressive, and ugly. At the same time, Essex is currently seeing inward investment for the regeneration of its towns, spearheaded by a profusion of ‘cultural’ initiatives, including public art projects and the building of new ambitious art galleries.’

Matthew Poole will explore how culture is legitimated and authorised, and ask who should have the right to decide about public art, and how communities are formed, strengthened or weakened by public ‘culture’. His lecture will take place on 9 March at 7.30pm in the University’s Lakeside Theatre. Admission is free but by ticket only. For tickets, e-mail events@essex.ac.uk, telephone 01206 872807.

Following on from the Burrows Lecture, on 17 March Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex, Professor Colin Riordan will join the University’s honorary graduate Germaine Greer and author Safraz Manzoor to discuss how identity, migration and diversity enrich culture in Essex. The debate, chaired by Dave Monk from BBC Essex, takes place at 7.30pm at the Central Baptist Church, Chelmsford.

Some of the University’s leading researchers will offer their views in five themed, thought-provoking sessions entitled ‘What’s around the corner?’ Talks will cover a range of topics including ‘The changing voices of Essex’, ‘How Latin American art came to Essex’, ‘Surviving Nazi concentration camps’, ‘The minds role in reaching your full potential’ and ‘Creative number puzzles: circular Sudoku and friends’. Each session will be taking place every hour from 10am-4pm on 20 March at Colchester Library.

One of the highlights of the month-long festival will be the launch of the republished classic Cheapjack by Phil Allingham. Cheapjack is the author’s charming and humorous account of his travels around fair-ground and market-place communities in England in 1928. Francis Wheen and Julia Jones will be at the Colchester Campus to explain why they have decided to republish this minor classic.

There will also be a rare opportunity to view the Margery Allingham archive held in the University’s at the Albert Sloman Library. Phil’s more famous sister Margery was a contributor to Cheapjack. The archive holds original manuscript copies of most of Margery’s books and stories, as well as a large number of paintings and drawings for the dust-jackets of her novels. The archive viewing will take place on 23 March from 5-6pm with the talk commencing at 7pm in the University’s Lakeside Theatre.

Details of how to obtain tickets for all these events are available from the Essex Book Festival website, see: www.essexbookfestival.org.uk.

Notes to Editors:
1. For more information on the events being held at the University, please contact the Communications office by telephone: 01206 872807, e-mail: comms@essex.ac.uk.

2. The Burrows Lecture was endowed at the University by Major J.H. Burrows, proprietor and Managing Director of the Southend Standard group of newspapers. In making his gift, Major Burrows set out certain conditions regarding the lecture, stating that the subject must always be connected with some aspect of historical of present-day life of Essex. Previous lectures have included Sir John Tusa, the Poet Laureate Andrew Motion and author Margaret Drabble.
For the fourth year, the Burrows Lecture is presented in partnership with the Essex Book Festival – the largest literary festival in the eastern region, the month-long festival brings authors and readers together across the country.
Matthew Poole, speaker at this year’s Burrows Lecture, is the Programme Director for The Centre for Curational Studies at the University and has also collaborated with a wide variety of contemporary artists and worked for a number of arts organisations and galleries both in the public and private sectors.
3. The schedule for the five themed sessions held on March 20 at Colchester Library, Trinity Square, Colchester CO1 1JB, presented by the University’s researchers is as follows:
Essex - 10am - 11am
Professor Colin Riordan - A University for Essex
Jenny Amos - The changing voices of Essex
James Canton - J.A. Baker: a wild Essex writer
Journeys - 11am - 12noon
Joanne Harwood - How Latin American art came to Essex
Emma Hopper - Sophie de la Roche's Essex travels
Sanja Bahun - The journey of Blow Up from page to screen
Survival - 12pm - 1pm
Beverley Wilkinson - Health, disease and survival
Rainer Schulze - Surviving Nazi Concentration Camps
John Packer - Human rights and survival
Performance - 2pm-3pm
Dominic Micklewright - The mind's role in reaching your full potential
Alison Rowlands - A brief history of women's football
Huosheng Hu - How robots will transform our lives
Puzzles - 3pm-4pm
Matthew Bowman - The Art Historian as Sherlock Holmes
Max Roberts - Underground maps: design challenges and challenging designs
Peter Higgins - Creative number puzzles: circular Sudoku and friends

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